Is Humidity Causing Damage Inside Your Hearing Aids?
There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate that makes a hearing aid work the way it does, but few have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s time to learn more about why humidity is a damaging thing for hearing aids.
What is Humidity?
Even though the word humidity is very common, what does it really mean? PBS describes humidity as water molecules in the air. The relative humidity refers to the ratio of water molecules in the air compared to how many the air can actually hold. The higher the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
Humans are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most effective way to cool down the body. When humidity levels are too high our sweat will not evaporate as quickly. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have a Problem with Humid Weather
Strangely enough, electronic devices are not just sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will collect condensation. When it’s too dry things become more brittle.
Internal electronics are the reason your hearing aids work. Newer digital hearing aids use a sophisticated audio processing chip to control noise. It’s what is behind elegant features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
High humidity causes moisture to accumulate in the hearing aids damaging that chip. Batteries get wrecked and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the equivalent of throwing your hearing aid in a bathtub of water.
Water resistant models are currently available. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can go swimming with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does give some protection against humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.
When it’s very humid try to reduce indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s an investment that will help you and your family in many ways and protect other electronic devices like that expensive TV you got for Christmas. Dust mites, mildew, and mold thrive in moist environments so a dehumidifier will improve the quality of breathing as well. Although a house or room dehumidifier will help protect your hearing aids, it’s not enough. There are a few other things you can and should do.
Look for the dehumidifier made for hearing aids. There is one out there for every budget. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the electronics. You put the device in the dehumidifier for a couple of hours to eliminate moisture. There are also storage containers that dry hearing aids out each night as you sleep. If it is very humid and you have no other way, uncooked rice can reduce moisture.
Don’t forget to leave the battery door open when you store your device. By pulling that door open before you put the hearing aid down, you expose the batteries and other elements to the air, allowing any condensation built up to evaporate naturally. Don’t just do this in the summer, do it all year round.
A cool dry place is the ideal for storage. On the table in the sun, in the glove compartment, or in a hot room are examples of where not to store your hearing aids.
Thinking Beyond Humidity
Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:
- Make sure all lotion or sunscreen is fully absorbed before touching your hearing aids or putting them in your ears.
- Find a safe place to store your hearing aids if headed for the pool or beach.
- Wear a sweatband when exercising. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
Your hearing aids are a valuable asset, so treat them that way. Consider how moisture and humidity can impact them and take steps to prevent water damage. If your hearing aid already has water damage make an appointment for service with a hearing aid specialist.